Shea butter comes from the nuts of karité trees that grow in the Sahel region extending from West to East Africa. For hundreds of years, shea butter has been referred to as “women’s gold,” not only due to its beautiful, golden color but also because it provides employment to millions of (mostly rural) women.
Shea is highly valued in the beauty industry and in recent years global demand has been on the rise. But more importantly, this crop is an important tool in the fight against poverty. This is particularly true for countries like Ghana, one of the world’s largest shea nut exporters. BamCashea is working to partner with local shea cooperatives in Ghana to achieve financial independence for women, farmers, and greater market representation in both the Ghanaian and global shea industry.
Shea Harvesting and Processing Facility
The shea industry is a substantial women’s livelihood activity. BamCashea partnered with the Norntoma women’s cooperative in the community of Bamboi to open a facility for shea harvesting and processing. This gives the women greater control of the shea value chain, as they collect, store, and process their own shea nuts.
Doing so will allow the cooperative to earn higher and fair prices for shea nuts and products. The cooperative will soon be turning shea into locally consumable products that will replace more costly imported goods and generate a steady stream of income.
By providing our partners with the proper equipment, fair prices for seeds and shea nuts, and capacity building training, BamCashea supports the creation of more jobs and higher, more sustainable incomes. This leads to more money for school fees, greater food security and better nutrition, increased access to healthcare, and a higher quality of life.
Developing a robust shea industry in Bamboi will contribute not only to the local economy, but also help preserve the surrounding environment. Shea is increasingly used for charcoal and firewood production, leading to an alarming rate of deforestation. With BamCashea’s support, the community can take full advantage of the economic value of shea trees, and in turn work to preserve and protect these vital resources.
BamCashea’s Shea Program Objectives